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  • Writer's pictureLIAM REDFORD

Chloe Chong returns to the points at Silverstone

JHR Developments driver Chloe Chong enjoyed a positive weekend of British F4 Championship action at Silverstone where she added to her points tally. After showing excellent speed in wet weather testing, qualifying saw her running as high as second - then achieved her second best finish of the season which gained her one championship point in race 2.


Chloe Chong, JHR Developments, British F4, 2024 Silverstone
Photo credits: JEP/DomGibbons

JHR Developments driver Chloe Chong enjoyed a positive weekend of British F4 Championship action at Silverstone where she added to her points tally. After showing excellent speed in wet weather testing, a tyre choice gamble in qualifying saw her running as high as second in the closing stages, before setting the 15th fastest time overall.


Achieving a highest result of 14th in race two, this was Chong’s second best finish of the season and netted her one championship point for making progress from her starting position in the reverse grid contest.


Arriving at Silverstone on the back of her season’s best finish at Thruxton, Chloe was looking to carry this momentum forward into her first visit to the home of British motorsport. Chong’s qualifying performance at Thruxton showed cause for optimism as she put herself in contention for a top-10 result, narrowly missing out on reverse grid pole. Gaining confidence in the car with each weekend, the JHR Developments racer was aiming to further move up the order during the race three races on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit.


The first of two free practice sessions on Friday was held in wet conditions with Chloe making good progress throughout the session. Challenging the top-10 runners in the closing stages, Chong’s fastest time placed her 15th in an expanded field of drivers. The second session was also held in extremely wet conditions, with Chloe gaining confidence with each passing lap. As a result, she enjoyed one of her best sessions of the season to date, ending testing in ninth position overall.


Conditions were equally challenging for qualifying on Saturday morning, with the track predominantly wet but beginning to dry. Therefore, Chong and the JHR Developments team chose to start the session on wet tyres, just one of a handful of racers to choose this strategy. In the early stages of qualifying, it looked to be the correct call with Chloe sitting second overall while holding the fastest middle sector of any driver.


However, as the track dried, the slick tyre crossover took place and although Chong pitted for a set of dry weather tyres, getting heat into the Pirelli rubber was a challenge. Unable to improve on the slicks with limited time remaining in the session, Chloe ended qualifying in 15th position, with her second-best lap placing her in 19th.


Reflecting on qualifying, Chloe said “The team made a good call on the tyres for qualifying, but unfortunately, I didn’t manage to maximise it. With a few more laps on the wets, I think we could have been in the top 10, as we were P2 until the final laps”.


All drivers fitted the Pirelli slick tyre for the first race of the weekend, with the track now predominantly dry. Chong lined up from 17th on the grid after both Bart Harrison and Zack Scoular were forced to start from the pit lane, and the JHR Developments driver made a good getaway to move into 16th at the conclusion of lap one. Chloe was eager to make further progress, but the race was quickly neutralised as Jack Sherwood was stuck in the gravel trap at Vale.


As the racing resumed, Chloe was aiming to hold off Fortec Motorsport driver Nina Gademan, with the Dutch racer moving ahead at the conclusion of lap four. Chong was holding her own among the midfield runners and was aiming to claim a position in the top-15 as the race developed.


On lap six, the JHR Developments driver was now holding off a charging Bart Harrison, with the Chris Dittman Racing driver looking to move forward after his pitlane start. As her rival overtook on lap eight, Chong successfully defended from Zack Scoular on the final lap to end race one in 18th position.


The second race of the weekend was the partial reverse grid contest, with Chloe narrowly missing out on a front row starting spot. Lining up from 15th on the grid, it was another positive opening lap for Chong who moved in 14th position at the end of lap one. Moving forward in the initial stages of both races one and two marked a significant improvement for the JHR Developments driver who was competing well at Silverstone.


Following a lengthy safety car period for a four-car incident on the opening lap, there was just three laps remaining when the green flag was shown. Chong continued to run well behind Zack Scoular and was still holding comfortably inside the top-15. Holding her position to the line, Chloe finished race two in 14th position and added to her championship points tally.


Chloe knew she had the car to challenge for a good result and commented “Race two I didn’t get the tyres in well enough, but the fight was there, and it was a shame we didn’t get many racing laps after the Safety Car”.


The third and final race of the weekend took place on Sunday afternoon with Chong lining up from 15th on the grid. It was a busy opening lap with multiple incidents taking place close to the JHR Developments driver, with Chloe ending lap one in 16th position. As the safety car was then deployed, this gave Chong a chance to regroup and focus forward for the restart. Despite losing out to Abbi Pulling and Matus Ryba on lap four, Chloe was competing well and was ready to regain these lost positions.


On lap five, Chong made a smart move to overtake Carrie Schriener and immediately pulled out a gap behind her rival. The JHR Developments driver was then engaged in a close battle with Ryba, with both drivers exchanging 16th position before the Slovakian driver came out on top. A hard-charging Mika Abrahams then made his way through on lap eight and with the South African racer also passing Yuhao Fu, he was Chong’s next target.


Defending smartly in the closing stages, Chloe’s finishing position improved further when an incident between Zack Scoular and Alex Berg saw both drivers lose positions, with Chong taking the checkered flag in 16th position.


Looking back at the final race of the weekend, Chloe said “We had a good car for race three and I had a good start but had to avoid accidents in front of me which cost me places. I was run off track, losing more places, so I had to gain them back and I got my elbows out, fighting the best I have this season, but I need to find the pace because the car was there, and I wasn’t. I’ll be aiming to bring it all together into Zandvoort”.


Chloe continued to establish herself as a consistent midfield contender at Silverstone and showed good speed in both wet and dry conditions. Making progress in the reverse grid race enabled Chong to add to her championship points tally and she will be looking forward to the next event which takes place at Circuit Zandvoort in the Netherlands on the weekend of 13th/14th July.

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